HERNIA IN FEMALES
When we hear hernia, we always relate it to men, but women also get them too. Inguinal hernia in females is somewhat uncommon as compared to males. The incidence of inguinal hernia ratio of boys to girls is 6:1.
WHAT IS HERNIA IN FEMALES
A hernia occurs in females when there is a hole or weakness in the peritoneum, the muscular wall that usually keeps abdominal organs in place. This weakness in the peritoneum allows organs and tissues to push through or herniated producing a bulge.
This bulge sometimes enters the inside when the person lies down and resurfaces when actions like coughing occur.
WHAT CAUSES HERNIA IN FEMALES
The hernia is caused by a union of muscle weakness and strain. Depending on the cause, the hernia can develop quickly or could take a longer period of time.
Some causes of muscle weakness and strain that can lead to hernia development includes;
- A congenital condition that occurs during development in the womb
- Damage from an injury or surgery
- Chronic coughing or chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder
- Lifting of heavyweights and strenuous exercise
- Multiple pregnancies
- Obesity or being overweight
- Fluid in the abdomen or ascites
Some other factors that can make a person prone to hernia includes;
- Smoking (Lead to weakening of connective tissues
- Family history of hernia (could be genetic)
- Cystic Fibrosis
- Chronic Constipation
TYPES OF HERNIA’S COMMON IN FEMALES
- Inguinal hernia in Females: This is the commonest hernia in women. It occurs as an indirect protrusions. Many of these protrusions are sliding hernias containing genital structures such as fallopian tubes, ovaries, or even the uterus.
An inguinal hernia occurs when the intestines push through a weak spot or tear in the lower abdominal wall, usually the inguinal canal. The inguinal canal is usually found in the groin. In women, it contains ligaments that help hold the uterus in place.
- Umbilical Hernia: This occurs when fatty tissues or part of a person’s bowel pokes through the tummy near the belly button. Women get umbilical hernia due to pregnancy; it is usually associated with childbearing. Women who are overweight are also at risk of getting an umbilical hernia, children with low birth weight and premature babies are also at risk.
- Femoral hernia: Femoral hernia occurs when there is a push through the groin at the top of the inner thigh. It is associated with aging and repeated strain of the tummy. Some studies have shown that this could be a result of the structure of the pelvis in women which is shaped to accommodate babies.
- Hiatus Hernia: Hiatus hernia occurs when parts of the stomach push up into the chest by squeezing through an opening in the diaphragm, the thin sheet of muscle that disparate the stomach from the cheat. This type of hernia doesn’t exactly have causative agents but may result from a weak diaphragm caused by aging or applying pressure on the stomach. The risk is higher in aged women and obese women.
SYMPTOMS OF HERNIA IN FEMALES
The major symptom of hernia in females is the appearance of a bulge or lump. Other symptoms include;
- Increased pain at the area of the bulge
- In the case of Hiatal hernia, you may experience heartburn, indigestion, swallowing difficulty, chest pain, and frequent regurgitation
- Abdominal pains when lifting
- Aching sensation
- Increase in bulge size
- In the case of acute inguinal hernia, symptoms may include vomiting and nausea
- Chronic pelvic pain
HOW IS HERNIA DIAGNOSED IN WOMEN
A physical examination is usually carried out first by your health care provider to check if a hernia is present. Sometimes, the bulge is very visible when standing upright or when it disappears, you can feel it by placing your hands on the spot where it first appeared and bend down while doing so.
A femoral hernia is usually diagnosed by an ultrasound scan and bowel obstruction could be determined by an abdominal x-ray.
HOW CAN HERNIA BE TREATED
The sole treating method to effectively get rid of a hernia is through surgical repair. But getting these surgery done depends on the size of the hernia and how severe the symptoms the person with hernia is experiencing.
Its advisable you see your doctor for proper examination and monitoring to determine when you need surgery.
Some cases may require you wear a truss to hold the hernia in one place and to ease some of the pain it may be causing you.
You can relieve discomfort and pains caused by hiatal hernia by taking medications that reduce stomach acidic content e.g. Antacids, H- 2 Receptor blockers, etc.
IS LIVING WITH HERNIA WITHOUT SURGERY ADVISABLE?
A hernia does not disappear over time, instead they grow larger and more painful and can lead to complications. The complications that could occur for inguinal and femoral hernia are;
- Incarceration (Obstruction): In this case, part of the intestine gets stuck in the inguinal canal causing severe stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, and a painful lump in the groin
- Strangulation: Part of the intestine gets trapped in a way that cuts off its blood supply. It could lead to death if emergency surgery is not performed.
HOW CAN HERNIA BE PREVENTED?
A hernia cannot always be prevented from developing because sometimes, it could be an inherited condition or could be caused by previous surgery. However, some simple lifestyle adjustments could help reduce the level of stress and strain placed on your body parts thereby reducing the risk of getting hernia. They include;
- Eat a healthy diet and exercise to maintain an ideal body weight
- Stop smoking as it can lead to coughing that triggers hernia
- Take medications for sough to prevent it from becoming severe
- Eat fruits, vegetables, and whole grains to prevent constipation
- Don’t lift things that are beyond your ability.